Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

by The Spark

“You’ve got a special counsel who has prosecutorial powers now…. Public access to this is probably going to be very limited now. It’s really going to limit what the public will know about this.” So said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, responding to the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate whether Donald Trump or his administration has broken the law.

We can be sure that the Republican Party would like in Graham’s own words – “to limit what the public will know about this.” But most Democrats are also calling for “patience,” and to “let the investigation take its course.”

Taking its course means taking its (more…)

by John Pilger

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”.

Serious purpose

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistle blowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”.

In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate (more…)

by Jim Creegan

It is now increasingly apparent that the abrupt reversals of the Trump White House, emerging from behind a curtain of court intrigue, signal a major political shift. The white nationalist platform upon which the parvenu real estate mogul was elected in November seems in the process of being scrapped, plank by plank, in favour of a far more conventional rightwing Republican agenda, at home and abroad.

Far too often, Marxist political writing suffers from a conceptual gap. On the one hand, the bourgeois state is said – as a general theoretical proposition – to be an instrument of capitalist class rule. On the other hand, short to medium-term political events are analysed exclusively in terms of the pronouncements and deeds of political actors, momentary combinations, electoral moods etc., without regard to the interface between politics and class. No attempt is made uncover the particular pressures and influences through which the interests of the bourgeoisie are brought to bear.

In cases where politics flow through accustomed channels, the challenge is not daunting. Political parties and institutions are headed by individuals who either come from the ruling class themselves, or who are thoroughly venal and have undergone certain vetting procedures for class loyalty. The task of explanation becomes more difficult, however, when extraordinary convulsions – coups or insurrections in authoritarian regimes, or electoral upsets in democracies – put power in the hands of individuals and groups without long-established ruling class connections, and who may be hostile in important ways to the settled aims and practices of the bourgeoisie.

Hostile takeover?

Donald Trump is a case in point. Although himself a member of the ruling class, he entered the presidential primaries as an (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

If you support US wars and strong-arm tactics around the world vote for Labour in 2017. That’s the party that is most gung-ho about US world domination right now. Just this week Labour leader Andrew Little criticised President Trump for indicating he wants to pull back on US interventions. Here’s what Little said following the presidential inauguration:

He [Trump] talked about America First and not entering into fights that aren’t America’s fights. But the US plays an absolutely crucial role in world peace and world order and if he is going to fundamentally change that, then who knows what is going to happen and which tyrants in other parts of the world are going to consider that they have a licence to do even worse.(NZ Herald  23 January 2017)

Just how low can Labour go you may wonder? Think bottomless pit and avoid disappointment. Having shown themselves to be more racist than National with their campaign against people with Chinese sounding names, the Labour Party now wants to show they are even better imperialists too.

little-in-iraq

Andrew Little visiting troops in Iraq 2016 with National’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee

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downloadby Tony Norfield

Although it is the world’s major power, the US has found it difficult to impose its will in the past decade or so. From President Bush’s ‘mission accomplished’ speech about Iraq in 2003, to the continuing disasters in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, from US policy in Ukraine also being upset by Russian intervention in Crimea, to how the Saudis and other Gulf states have destabilised the Middle East, the US has not been getting its own way and has been unable to impose settlements that would otherwise be expected of a hegemonic power. This puts the incoming US administration under The Donald in an interesting position.

Early signs suggest that POTUS-elect Trump is taking a softer line on Russia, one different from the still Cold War-inspired position of the Obama regime. Trump has stated that he expects the Europeans to pay more for their own NATO-related defence, which might make them less willing to finance an increased build-up of military operations close to Russia’s borders. Trump has also rejected Obama’s rhetoric on Putin’s supposed involvement in Russia’s alleged cyber attack on Hillary Clinton’s emails. Perhaps most striking of all, Trump plans to appoint Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State, that is to be the main person in charge of foreign policy. Tillerson is Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, and is well known to have friendly relationships with the Russian government.

ExxonMobil opposed sanctions on Russia from its own business perspective, but one would have to agree that the aggression shown to Russia by the current US administration makes little economic or political sense. Russia is far from being a threat to US interests. Instead, Russia may have (more…)

imagesThe following is extracted from a longer article about political polarisation globally, written by Ben Hillier, which appears in Red Flag, the paper of Australia’s largest Marxist current (Socialist Alternative), here.

It is beyond reasonable doubt, for anyone who cares to look at the actual county and district results, that the New York billionaire won a section of the white working class across the rust belt of the northern United States. But this was no US-wide worker rebellion; the election was won on the margins. And it is folly to conflate all the people who voted for Trump with his core base of support. Most of his votes did not come from that. They came from a diverse coalition that was, with a few qualifications, bog standard Republican – western plains evangelicals, big money reactionaries, rural and regional middle classes, traditional affluent conservatives from the suburbs who lambasted him as a charlatan, people who voted reluctantly, people who voted despite, not because of, his bigotry, people who voted just to stick the finger to liberal Washington, as well as his die-hard far-right supporters.

In fact, according to one August Quinnipiac poll, 64 percent of Trump “supporters” said that they were voting primarily (more…)